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Commencement voices: It's time to choose our own path

Posted by Roy Greene  May 17, 2013 02:32 PM

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By Cathleen Miles

In three days, I will graduate from Boston College. I will graduate college with $41,500 in loans, $1,259.01 in my bank account, no job, no health insurance, no place to live.

Up until this point in our lives, time has been broken up for us into neat, tidy, definable segments. Each grade of our academic tenure, 1st through 16th. Christmas breaks, summer vacations, start and end dates of internships.

Until now, we have been provided with clear, easily traversable maps to our lives. As of May 20th, this ends.

No longer will we have a date or a holiday or a move up in the education system to inform us of our progress forward and up and out. Now, it’s up to us to make those points. To decide when and how things will change for ourselves. To choose our own pattern of growth out of the big, indefinable gray space that is The Rest of Our Lives.

What scares me is not the seemingly limiting nature of the facts and numbers of my predicament, but the freedom that comes with it.

Standing at the onset of adulthood with such circumstances means that I can move in any direction because I don’t have much to lose. I can go into sales in San Francisco or try writing in Chicago or be a personal assistant in Los Angeles. I can go anywhere and try anything, and that’s what scares me about life after May 20th. The plurality of choices is terrifying.

The one solace is the knowledge that I am 22. I can mess up and fall down and pick the wrong thing and I have plenty of time to fix it and start again. We all do. We don’t need to hit a home run our first time up at bat. We can strike out once or twice. That’s what our parents’ couches are for.

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